Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail

This trail is a natural wonder of the South.

Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana
Bird-watchers at the four wildlife refuges on the 180-mile nature trail spy waterfowl of many species. This area is also home to thousands of American alligators.

Exit 36 off I-10, Lake Charles; exit 20 off I-10, Sulphur, Louisiana

Just beyond the interstate lies Louisiana’s Outback—a world of natural beauty and bustling activity. This 180-mile stretch is the Gulf South’s only official National Scenic Byway and All-American Road—coveted designations awarded by the Federal Highway Administration that ensures a rewarding driving experience. It’s in this area that the notorious pirate Jean Lafitte hid his treasure and where Louisiana’s Cajun culture took root.

From the car this vast expanse of prairie and marshland appears peaceful and tranquil. Yet it’s teeming with life, boasting 16 species of mammals. With thousands of alligators, it’s now supported by a major alligator research center.

The Creole Nature Trail is also considered one of the nation’s top birding destinations. Sightings of some 250 species of birds have been recorded. Butterflies of all colors also flock here by the millions.

To better view the abundance of lovely winged creatures, drivers can stop at the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, or the Peveto Woods Birds and Butterfly Sanctuary. And there are downloadable MP3 audio tours available for every leg of the trail.

Open year-round.


(800) 456-7952; (337) 436-9588

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest